The Lord sends a comforting message. — V.1. Then the Lord said unto Moses, in answer to his cry of anxiety, Now shalt thou see what I will do to Pharaoh; for with a strong hand shall he let them go, and with a strong hand shall he drive them out of his land. That was God’s answer as to the eventual method which would be adopted by Pharaoh in dealing with the children of Israel. He would not only dismiss Israel out of his country, but he would do so with impatience, he would expel them. V.2. And God spake unto Moses in a solemn declaration, and said unto him, I am the Lord; v.3. and I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob by the name of God Almighty, but by My name Jehovah was I not known to them. To the patriarchs the Lord had not revealed Himself in His specific capacity as Jehovah, although the name was not unknown to them. Now He wanted to give actual evidence, definite proof, of Himself in fulfilling His promises, in carrying out the conditions of the Messianic covenant, at least in its typical form. V.4. And I have also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers. This covenant had been made with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob, as their history abundantly shows, while they were still strangers in the Land of Promise. But the time of four generations, of which the Lord had spoken to Abraham, Gen. 15, 16, was now drawing to a close, and so His words must now be fulfilled. V.5. And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered my covenant. That was the second factor which decided the Lord, the lamenting, the wailing, of the children of Israel under the burden of their bondage in Egypt. V.6. Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the Lord; He wanted to prove Himself as Jehovah. And I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched-out arm and with great judgments. The expression “arm stretched out” is even stronger than “arm of strength” of verse 1, since it is the aim of the Lord to reassure the people beyond the shadow of a doubt. V.7. And I will take you to Me for a people, and I will be to you a God; and ye shall know that I am the Lord, your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. This formal acceptance of the children of Israel as the people of the covenant took place at Mount Sinai, chap. 19, 5. 6. The Lord here repeats the definite statement that He would lead Israel out from under, entirely away from, the oppressive burdens of the Egyptians. V.8. And I will bring you in unto the land concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage, for a permanent possession; I am the Lord. This, then, was the Lord’s threefold promise: to deliver His people from the bondage of Egypt; formally to adopt them as His people; to bring them into Canaan, their future possession. Thus the Lord comforts His children in the midst of their afflictions with the promise of the everlasting deliverance, whereby His covenant, His Word, remains alive in their hearts.
God’s charge to Moses and Aaron. — V.9. And Moses spake so unto the children of Israel; but they hearkened not unto Moses for anguish of spirit and for cruel bondage, literally, for shortness of breath and for hard slavery. It was not merely physical affliction with which they were suffering, but their spirit was almost broken with the unendurable harshness of the treatment which they received. V.10. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, v.11. Go in, speak unto Pharaoh, king of Egypt, that he let the children of Israel go out of his land. It was a direct command to lay aside all faint-heartedness and to undertake the task of delivering the people with all energy. V.12. And Moses spake before the Lord, saying, Behold, the children of Israel have not hearkened unto me; how, then, shall Pharaoh hear me, who am of uncircumcised lips? He argues that if the less difficult was impossible for him, the harder task would certainly be far above his ability. He assigns the reason for his failure to his uncircumcised, his unregenerate lips, which made it impossible for him to transmit the words of the Lord to Aaron with the proper ease and fluency and in all their stainless purity. V.13. And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, and gave them a charge unto the children of Israel, and unto Pharaoh, king of Egypt, to bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt. It was a comprehensive command intended to beat down the last feeling of hesitation which Moses still felt. It is no small matter to proclaim the will of the Lord to defiant, obstinate men, but when the Lord commands, His will must be done.
The genealogy of Moses and Aaron. — V.14. These be the heads of their father’s houses. The tribes were considered as branching off first into families, or clans, or heads of the father-houses; these again branch off into the father-houses themselves. The sons of Reuben, the first-born of Israel: Hanoch, and Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi; these be the families of Reuben. Cp. Gen. 46, 9; 1 Chron. 5, 3. V.15. And the sons of Simeon: Jemuel, and Jamin, and Ohad, and Jachin, and Zohar, and Shaul, the son of a Canaanitish woman; these are the families of Simeon. Cp. Gen. 46, 10; 1 Chron. 4. 24. V.16. And these are the names of the sons of Levi according to their; generations: Gershon, and Kohath, and Merari, Gen. 46, 11; and the years of the life of Levi were an hundred and thirty and seven years. V.17. The sons of Gershon: Libni and Shimi, according to their families. V.18. And the sons of Kohath: Amram, and Izhar, and Hebron, and Uzziel; and the years of the life of Kohath were an hundred thirty and three years. V.19. And the sons of Merari: Mahali and Mushi; these are the families of Levi according to their generations. V.20. And Amram took him Jochebed, his father’s sister, to wife; and she bare him Aaron and Moses; and the years of the life of Amram were an hundred and thirty and seven years. Cp. 1 Chron. 6, 1–3. Note that the sum of the ages of these three generations, plus the age of Moses at the time of the Exodus, is four hundred eighty-seven years; so there is no difficulty in making Bible chronology fit. Of the three children of Amram and Jochebed, Aaron was three years older than Moses, and Miriam was older than either. V.21. And the sons of Izhar: Korah, and Nepheg, and Zichri. V.22. And the sons of Uzziel: Mishael, and Elzaphan, and Zithri. These were the cousins of Moses and Aaron. V.23. And Aaron took him Elisheba, daughter of Amminadab, sister of Naashon, to wife, a woman of the tribe of Judah, 1 Chron. 2, 10; and she bare him Nadab, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. V.24. And the sons of Korah: Assir, and Elkanah, and Abiasaph; these are the families of the Korhites. V. 25. And Eleazar, Aaron’s son, took him one of the daughters of Putiel to wife; and she bare him Phinehas. These are the heads of the fathers of the Levites according to their families, the heads of the father-houses. V.26. These are that Aaron and Moses to whom the Lord said, Bring out the children of Israel from the land of Egypt according to their armies. Although the heads of the father-houses of Reuben and Simeon were also mentioned, the genealogy was here inserted chiefly for the sake of showing the family relations of Moses and Aaron. V.27. These are they which spake to Pharaoh, king of Egypt, to bring out the children of Israel from Egypt; these are that Moses and Aaron, Moses being mentioned in first place again on account of his leadership at the time of the Exodus. The men through whom the Lord performed such great works occupy a place of honor in the history of the Lord’s kingdom.
The Lord again commissions Moses. — V.28. And it came to pass on the day when the Lord spake unto Moses in the land of Egypt, v.29. that the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, I am the Lord; speak thou unto Pharaoh, king of Egypt, all that I say unto thee. The narrative is here resumed with another emphatic commission of the Lord, in which He bids Moses transmit His exact words to Pharaoh. V.30. And Moses said before the Lord, Behold, I am of uncircumcised lips, and how sha11 Pharaoh hearken unto me? It is the same objection as in verse 12, declaring his complete unfitness for the task which the Lord had laid upon him. When the Lord calls, His servants should at all times heed His call with all eagerness and not consult with flesh and blood.